Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start?


A quick mindmap on the first key question you will need to be able to answer for the first paper of the World History GCSE course.
Louisa Wania
Mind Map by Louisa Wania, updated more than 1 year ago
Louisa Wania
Created by Louisa Wania almost 10 years ago

Resource summary

Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start?
  1. How did Germany emerge from defeat in the First World War?
    1. The Revolution of 1918-19
      1. By 1918 Germany was losing the war
        1. However, many Germans still believed Germany was winning
        2. Food shortages and problems caused chaos
          1. Revolts - such as the sailor's mutiny at Kiel - started all over Germany
            1. People, including soldiers, took to the streets to call for peace
              1. Kaiser was persuaded to abdicate
                1. Germany's leading politicians signed the armistice on the 11th Nov. 1918
                  1. These politicians were later called the "November Criminals" by Hitler
                    1. He said that they betrayed Germany by surrendering to the Allies when Germany could have won the war
                  2. Spartacists (left-wing) tried to take control of Germany
                    1. Their leaders, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, were killed in Jan. 1919 and the Freikorps defeated the uprising
                    2. In Feb. 1919 a new democratic government, the Weimar Republic, was declared
                    3. The Establishment of the Weimar Government
                      1. Republic was formed in the small town of Weimar because it was still too unstable and dangerous in Berlin
                        1. It was a parliamentary democracy
                          1. Elections were held under proportional representation
                          2. An elected president was head of the government
                            1. A Chancellor was in charge of the Reichstag
                              1. A mixture of parties made up the Weimar Republic (coalition government)
                                1. Issues challenging the Weimar Republic from the start
                                  1. The army, civil service, legal system and universities still employed many who'd been part of the old German empire and who didn't like the changes
                                    1. Few political parties supported the Republic's democracy
                                      1. Germany was in an awful state after the war
                                        1. The Weimar Republic was associated with the Treaty of Versailles
                                      2. The Weimar Constitution
                                        1. Signed in August 1919
                                          1. Strengths
                                            1. It was a democracy. All men and women over the age of 20 could vote in elections for the president and members of the Reichstag
                                              1. The bill of rights gave Germans the right to freedom of speech and religion
                                              2. Weaknesses
                                                1. Proportional Representation
                                                  1. Led to a coalition government
                                                    1. Made it hard to reach agreements within the government
                                                  2. Article 48
                                                    1. Often called the "suicide clause" as it contributed to the downfall of the republic
                                                      1. The clause gave the president the right to take charge in case of an emergency, however, it didn't state what an emergency was
                                                        1. Hitler later used this to gain more power
                                                      2. If Parties could not agree, the president could rule by decree (he had the last say and could make the laws)
                                                2. What was the economic and political impact of the Treaty of Versailles on the Weimar Republic?
                                                  1. Main things in the Treaty that affected Germany
                                                    1. 'War Guilt'
                                                      1. Germany had to accept blame for the war and the damage caused
                                                        1. Impact: Humiliation. Germans felt that this was very unfair and some blamed the Weimar Politicians for accepting this clause
                                                      2. Reparations
                                                        1. Germany had to pay for this damage (£6.6 Mil)
                                                          1. Impact: Economic problems at a time when Germany was trying to recover from the war.
                                                          2. The coal mines of the Saar were to be run by the French for 15 years and Germany had to supply free coal to France, Belgium and Italy
                                                            1. Impact: Shortage of good in Germany seeing as resources were given to other countries
                                                          3. Disarmament
                                                            1. No German forces west of the river Rhine to protect France. This area was demilitarized and was occupied for 15 years
                                                              1. Impact: Humiliation and worry. Germans felt they could not protect themselves and it was a blow to Germany's pride because it had been a very strong military country before.
                                                              2. To prevent future wars the German army was reduced to 100,000 men, navy reduced to small ships and no submarines, no air force
                                                              3. Loss of Territory
                                                                1. A lot of German land was lost: 13% of its territory, 48% of its iron production, 15% of its farmland, 6 million of its population
                                                                  1. Impact: Humiliation: the once great German Empire had been destroyed. Economic Issues: a lot of areas were lost that had made goods or provided food
                                                                2. League of Nations
                                                                  1. Germany wasn't allowed to join
                                                                    1. Impact: Isolation, seeing as Germany wasn't involved in decision-making in Europe
                                                                3. Political Disorder, 1920-23
                                                                  1. After WW1, Germany was in chaos and the T. of V. only made this worse
                                                                    1. These problems led to unrest
                                                                      1. Kapp Putsch, 1920
                                                                        1. Nationalist Uprising which wanted to overthrow the government and bring back the Kaiser
                                                                          1. Army refused to stop the Putsch and it was only defeated when workers went on strike
                                                                        2. Communist Uprising, 1920
                                                                          1. Uprising failed, however it made especially the middle classes even more fearful of Communism
                                                                          2. Munich Beer Hall Putsch, 1923
                                                                            1. Hitler tried to seize power by attempting to take over the State Government of Bavaria
                                                                              1. This was meant to be the start of a march on Berlin and the establishment of a Nazi regime in Germany
                                                                              2. The intended Putsch started at a beer hall in Munich and Hitler was accompanied by armed SA (brownshirt) members
                                                                                1. Trouble broke out between the SA members and regular soldiers so the police opened fire and defeated the uprising
                                                                                  1. Hitler was charged with treason for organising the Putsch.
                                                                                    1. The judge was sympathetic to his nationalist beliefs so Hitler only served 9 months of a 5 year sentence in which he wrote his book "Mein Kampf"
                                                                          3. Germans felt humiliated and frightened; People struggled to feed their families
                                                                            1. Many blamed the government for their problems - November Criminals, the "stab in the back"
                                                                            2. Occupation of the Ruhr, 1923
                                                                              1. Jan. 1923: French and Belgium troops occupy the Ruhr because Germany had failed to pay reparations
                                                                                1. Directly linked to the T. of V.
                                                                                  1. German government asked the people who lived there to respond in the form of passive resistance
                                                                                    1. Results
                                                                                      1. Nationalists like Hitler opposed this policy and argued that the German army should be used to remove the invadors
                                                                                        1. Fact that the gov. did not use force made Germany and the Weimar Politicians in particular seem even weaker
                                                                                          1. Because Germany's main industrial area was not producing, the German economy collapsed
                                                                                    2. Economic Distress and Hyperinflation, 1923
                                                                                      1. Economy was in a terrible state and the value of the German Mark fell drastically
                                                                                        1. In response, German government ordered more bank notes to be printed
                                                                                          1. Caused the value of the Mark to fall even more
                                                                                            1. Old notes became useless - children played with bundles of worthless banknotes
                                                                                              1. Prices went up several times a day
                                                                                                1. Over months, this rise was dramatic: a loaf of bread that had cost 250 marks in Jan. cost 200 million marks by Nov.
                                                                                                2. Wages fell and people lost their jobs
                                                                                                  1. Savings and pensions became useless
                                                                                                    1. Some people however did benefit, e.g. people with debt (debt was wiped) and some big indurtialists who made profits
                                                                                                      1. Most of hyperinflation meant poverty and some people died of hunger
                                                                                                  2. Many people felt that the government was to blame. Seemed as though the Weimar Republic could not survive especially after the "year of crisis", 1923
                                                                                                3. To what extent did the Weimar Republic recover after 1923?
                                                                                                  1. Stresemann Era, 1923 - 1929
                                                                                                    1. At Home
                                                                                                      1. Stresemann stabalised the Weimar Republic, heading up a coalition gov. of pro-democracy parties in the Reichstag
                                                                                                        1. Introduced the Rentenmark
                                                                                                          1. Ended Hyperinflation
                                                                                                          2. Dawes Plan
                                                                                                            1. Reparations were reduced
                                                                                                              1. French and Belgium troops left the Ruhr
                                                                                                                1. Germany began to produce coal, iron, etc. again
                                                                                                                2. Germany borrowed 800 mil. gold marks from the USA
                                                                                                                  1. Used to help Germany recover, building new factories and creating jobs
                                                                                                              2. Aborad
                                                                                                                1. Locarno Pact, 1925
                                                                                                                  1. Encouraged French-German cooperation
                                                                                                                  2. Germany admitted to the League of Nations in 1926
                                                                                                                    1. Kelogg-Briand Pact, 1928
                                                                                                                      1. 60 countries denounced the use of war
                                                                                                                      2. Young Plan, 1929
                                                                                                                        1. Further reduced reparations by extending the payment time by another 58 years
                                                                                                                    2. Underlying Weaknesses of the Weimar Republic
                                                                                                                      1. Political Stability didn't last long
                                                                                                                        1. The coalition of pro-democracy parties collapsed at the end of 1923
                                                                                                                          1. Extremists like Nationalists and Communists were allowed to exist
                                                                                                                            1. Were actively campaigning throughout this period
                                                                                                                              1. Wasn't a problem as long as the economy was stable
                                                                                                                          2. Economic Recovery was very fragile
                                                                                                                            1. Depended on loans from the USA
                                                                                                                            2. 2 Events in 1929 shattered Germany's recovery
                                                                                                                              1. Death of Stresemann
                                                                                                                                1. Wall Street Crash
                                                                                                                                  1. Plunged America into depression which meant Germany could no longer rely on American money and loans were recalled
                                                                                                                            3. What were the achievements of the Weimar Republic?
                                                                                                                              1. The Bauhaus Movement
                                                                                                                                1. Revolutionised architecture and influenced international art and design for decades to come
                                                                                                                                2. Talented Playwrites such as Bertold Brecht flourished
                                                                                                                                  1. Cabaret was very popular
                                                                                                                                    1. Marlene Dietrich's voice became famous around the world
                                                                                                                                    2. Univerities and Science centres were outstanding
                                                                                                                                      1. Albert Einstein lived and taught in Berlin
                                                                                                                                      2. Important artists such as Paul Klee started their careers during this time
                                                                                                                                        1. It was a time of great tolerance
                                                                                                                                          1. Homosexuality
                                                                                                                                            1. Equality for women
                                                                                                                                              1. There were links to Communism in much of the arts movements of this time and many leading cultural figures were Jewish
                                                                                                                                                1. Nazi's hated these trends and saw them as signs of a permissive and degenerative society
                                                                                                                                                  1. These trends were attacked mercilessly once Nazis came to power
                                                                                                                                                    1. Those who were lucky fled abroad
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